T Rex – 20th Century Boy

I first heard this song on a car commercial. It was nice to hear something from T. Rex other than Bang a Gong. T. Rex was never huge in America but for a few years were very popular in UK. They were one of the biggest UK Glam Rock bands.

Their popularity soared in 1971-72 and a mania that was called “T. Rexstasy”. In 1972 Ringo Starr produced and directed a concert film called Born to Boogie about T Rex. This song peaked at #3 in the UK Charts in 1973 and #11 in 1991.

The band only charted 3 songs in the Billboard 100 with one top ten hit…Bang a Gong. In the UK they scored 4 number ones and 21 top forty songs.

 

20th Century Boy

Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like Rock ‘n Roll
I move like a cat
Charge like a ram
Sting like a bee
Babe I wanna be your man

Well it’s plain to see you were meant for me
Yeah, I’m your boy, your 20th Century toy

Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like Rock ‘n Roll
Fly like a plane
Drive like a car
Hold out your hand
Babe I’m gonna be your man

And it’s plain to see you were meant for me
Yeah, I’m your toy, your 20th Century boy

20th Century toy, I wanna be your boy [4x]

Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like Rock ‘n Roll
Move like a cat
Charge like a ram
Sting like a bee
Babe I’m gonna be your man

And it’s plain to see
You were meant for me
Yeah I’m your toy
Your 20th Century boy

20th Century toy, I wanna be your boy [4x]

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

17 thoughts on “T Rex – 20th Century Boy”

  1. Great song, one of the finest examples of British music that didn’t quite cross over the Atlantic for whatever reason. This particular song, I’m almost embarassed to admit, was covered by a metro Toronto band called Chalk Circle in the early-’80s. It was a minor hit single and I liked it. I was SO surprised when the song started showing up in U.S. commercials. Only years later did I realize it was T Rex’s,not friends of my friends from down the road!

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  2. I historically would agree with you, don’ t love having good songs used just for ads. But the opposing view also has some merit these days, it introduces a new generation to music they wouldn’t know otherwise. It’s a tossup in my mind these days as to good or bad.

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  3. This is a neat song. I began hearing more from T-Rex, and now actually recognize Marc Bolan’s name, from listening to UK radio in recent years. T-Rex really did have some good songs…that it’s a shame we didn’t get to hear at the time. I didn’t know about the Ringo connection and the concert film. I’ll be searching for that on Prime.

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    1. I have it…it is interesting. It has Elton in it also. They were huge over there…I can’t understand why somethings don’t translate here.

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      1. I blame the business, not the fans. It seems to me that it is often non musicians who decide what we get to hear. (Bit of an angry rant in there.)

        It doesn’t look like Prime has the concert video, but it’s on YouTube. That’ll work.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash in Putney, South West London. His girlfriend was driving him back from a gig. I learnt to drive in the same area and it was a nasty piece of road – a blind curve and a humpback bridge iirc. The oak tree they hit in 1977 was still festooned with tributes in 1986.
    Ride a White Swan and Deborah were the breakthrough hits (’69? ’70?) and T Rex were in the charts until the mid 70s. When punk hit the UK, Bolan had a kids TV show and he picked punk bands to play on it.
    He also played on the original version of Bowie’s Prettiest Star.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read about that…his girlfriend Gloria I believe survived and they had a son.
      I didn’t know about him picking punk bands for a kid’s television show. Great story.

      BTW… I meant to ask you on your site. Did Doris travel for work or just travel? What an incredible eye she had for pictures. I’ve been going through them…just great pictures.

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  5. ‘Gloria’ is Gloria Jones as in the woman who had a hit with ‘Tainted Love’ in 1965, later covered by Soft Cell (not sure if that was popular outside the UK – but it was immensely popular here).
    Look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_(TV_series) for the show details. The last show featured him duetting with Bowie.
    Doris travelled for the fun of it I think. She worked for the GPO in an office. The GPO (as in the GPO tower – now the BT Tower (look it up on Wiki)) was the telephone branch of the Post Office.
    I guess she did her 9-5 and then having no husband, kids etc. spent her money on travelling.
    My wife knew her in her last years. Doris would tell stories how she’d climb into a little plane with an Oxford Don who would be astounded that a little cockney girl was mixing with the intellectuals. I hope to transcribe her journals – but that is really hard work! I’ve done the Libya/Egypt 1962 and the Portugal 1965 one. I’ll have a go at the Iran 1964 one as she saw the country under the Shah and it would be really interesting to get her perspective.
    I’m glad you like the photos. My daughters are doing a Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam trip (as I write this they are on a train from Saigon/Ho Chi Ming to Hanoi) and are using Doris’ pictures to compare 1968 to now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the info.
      Thank you for sharing those pictures on the blog. I’m glad you got her pictures so they won’t be lost.
      Your daughters comparing will be very interesting…Thank you again.

      Like

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